Friday, February 8, 2008

Judicial Character

Speaking of courts and the First Amendment, Justice William O. Douglas said this:

One who comes to the Court must come to adore, not to protest. That's the new gloss on the 1st Amendment.

William O. Douglas

Justice Douglas is saying personalities in control of courts sometimes seek some sort of expression of personal reverence or awe for them from the person who petitions the court. Every lawyer who goes to court sees this. The person on the bench does not distinguish between himself and institution of the court. He thinks the petitioner is coming to him, not the court.

The good judge is one who merely seeks knowledge and seeks to do justice. The good judge is one who keeps his personality out of the matter. This can be done if the judge understands himself and has reverence for process of law. Such a judge knows the part he is playing.

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